I caught up with some friends recently, actually the term friends doesn’t really do them or our relationship justice at all. This small group of guys have been in my life since I was eleven years old, one even longer. I’ve actually known him since the day he was born as our parents were friends. Now some thirty plus years on the bond we share is something I treasure. I truly regard each and every one of them as my brothers. Through thick and thin, fall outs, break ups, disagreements, lads holidays and breaks. Spending every second falling around in deep uncontrollable belly laughs, crying with laughter and talking through the night. I love them, I love them all. Many people seem to think our long serving group friendship as albeit amazing but a rare thing. Possibly the ‘norm’ for people and their friendships is more short lived than mine. Generally gaining friends at work and if people move on or change job then a new set of people become the circle. Whatever the mix, I know how lucky I am to call each one of them my friends.
These guys along with literally a couple more individuals form my inner circle . The group of people that I would drop anything for if they needed me to. The time it took me to learn they needed me and cover the distance they were from me would be the exact time if would take to get to them. I trust them with everything. Everything I am, everything I have been and aspire to be. I can put my heart to them without a second thought to judgement or embarrassment . Their trust, along with mine to them is a privilege.
It was during a recent catch up, well truth be told it was an insane 48 hour drinking binge fuelled by the most horrific diet ever in Dublin. During the course of one of the nights I ended up at the bar with one of my mates. This guy has always been what I regard as the centre point of the group whereas I see myself as more on the outer fringes. So we began talking, in a way we may never have before. As I have touched on before a sequence of events earlier in my life gave birth to a set of behaviours , boundary issues and such like. Looking back now I can see how and why this gave me those feelings of being an outsider, but once you’ve faced and tackled them you begin to see clearly, act appropriately. A long twisting story made short my presence made members, certain outer members/partners not that keen or sharing a social space with me. Now obviously even talking that way about myself now isn’t nice. It is in fact a horrible thought to know your actions made people feel that way about you but I cannot change what has gone before all I can do is what I have done, face my demons, look them square in the eye, nose to nose and break them down piece by piece until I understand them. Until I have dealt with them, until I have exorcised them. Which, now I have done, but of course behaviour, especially that over a prolonged duration leaves scars. However, in those situations that I had missed events in my friends lives. Some small, some pretty damn big but I accept that this is the consequence of having a history with a chequered path.
I cant punish myself into eternity so as to make others feel better or that they are ‘right’ about me. That isn’t how I choose to live. I accept and I move on, but also knowing that people will always make judgements regardless if you are doing wrong or right. That is what I have learned, it doesn’t matter what people think of you, good or bad. If you are getting up each and every day and trying, actively putting effort into improving yourself (for you) to in turn improve the world around you then no one can hurt you or your goals. People make mistakes, it is by definition what being a human is, the difference is not ignoring or making excuses for them. It’s holding your hands up, saying ‘yeah that was a royal blooper, what an absolute idiot I was’ and then to learn from that mistake, take something away from it. There will always be a lesson in there. The bottom line in the grand scheme of things is that their opinions don’t matter. The opinions that matter are yours and those of your inner circle, your hub. They accept your mistakes and flaws without judgement as you do with theirs.
So back to that conversation, we spoke about the kind of person I am. He speaks as he finds, directly, no nonsense and he has always seen that lack of confidence I have (had) in myself. I actually saw a different side to him, he told me things, his opinions and how he felt about me. Things that genuinely caught me off guard. Hearing him tell me how he’d defended me and fought my corner truly touched me. I don’t expect anyone to do that for me, not because I feel I don’t deserve it but because I just take life punches as they come. I’m big and ugly enough to hold my own. We delved into things for what felt like ages, I was a little overwhelmed to hear how much he actually cared for me. We all love each other but lets be honest a group of blokes rarely go into details or voice their deep feelings to each other. He made me feel like I wasn’t skirting around the outside of our group but in fact seen as a core member. Then before things got too soppy we necked or drinks and rejoined the others.
The second our conversation ended I knew I wanted to talk about it, to talk about people , those we class as friends. As not all friends are as they seem to be. I know my core, my select few that form my inner circle but there have been others that have operated on a different level, people that are/were friends that have surprised me with their behaviour but thats by the by. Im not here to grace their actions with my time. The karma train stops at every station, including mine. Im here to celebrate those friendships we have and we nourish. To say look around and appreciate those that stand and stand by you, let them know their belief and support is well deserved and of course let them know that you have their back always. I guess the point Im making is even if you suffer form a lack of confidence, anxiety or anything else that may make you find it hard to be yourself, know that your true friends see through all of that, they see you for you, who you are, who you are and what you mean to them. My friend said to me I can be the tallest, best looking guy with a great body but that counts for nothing if you are not yourself, if you cannot be comfortable being you.
So thats it, don’t change who you are in different company just because you may think they have a pre determined judgement about you. Let them, you being you, for you will scream volumes and when you get to that point you won’t even care what anybody thinks. You wont care you have a past, you won’t care you’re overweight, you won’t care you cant dance. Why? because there is no better power, no better energy than being comfortable and confident in your own skin.
I try and install this into my daughter who is trying to work out where she fits in on this totem pole of life. She will get it, it always drops into place sooner or later, like has beautiful knack of doing that, but she’s finding her way too, already she’s building her circle and thats an amazing feeling.
Thats kind of the point really here, in life you can go through it alone, trusting or confiding in no one but then wouldn’t everything you do be better surrounded by people that are there for you, that loves you for who you are. Build your inner circlet be mindful of who you let into it. The first sign they don’t belong is if they are happy talking about people, life, your life, my life doesn’t need that. All that does is tell you they will talk about you. Whittle out the snakes. Know the value of true friends and friendships. Not the people you hear from once a year that write happy birthday on your Facebook wall. Invest time in those that contact you directly, without a reason.
Once you know your own value as a person people will begin to see it too and once you know your value, the world is in your hands.